Wikimedia Foundation Medium-term plan 2019
The Wikimedia 2030 movement strategic direction, ratified by the Wikimedia global community in 2017, calls for the Wikimedia movement, projects, and institutions to become the “essential infrastructure of free knowledge,” where “anyone who shares our vision will be able to join us.” This direction moves Wikimedia further toward fulfilling the broader Wikimedia vision, a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge.
To support the expanded effort and fulfill the vision laid out by Wikimedia 2030, the Wikimedia Foundation and staff are preparing for significant institutional and programmatic shifts over the coming decade. The first step is the creation of this “Medium Term Plan” to describe a medium-term perspective on major institutional and technical goals under the responsibility and mission of the Wikimedia Foundation.
This plan is the result of collaboration across the Wikimedia Foundation’s various areas of expertise, and a representation of how the Foundation intends to lead, build, design, and serve the world and the mission of free knowledge. It establishes clear goals, areas of priority work, as well as metrics to measure accountability to the movement, our donors, and ourselves. The Wikimedia Foundation plays a unique role within the Wikimedia movement, and the Medium Term Plan reflects our interpretation of the activities the Foundation can undertake to support the broader movement in becoming the essential infrastructure of free knowledge.
Two main goals with five priority areas shape the Medium Term Plan. The two goals are growing participation in the Wikimedia movement globally, and modernizing the Wikimedia product experience. We will start to close the gap between internet growth and Wikimedia engagement in regions and languages in which Wikipedia is not well-known or widely used, while sustaining relevance in our core markets where the majority of our content, influence, and donations originate.
We are challenged to build more diverse and robust user experiences that reflect global demographics, content creation requirements, and knowledge consumption trends. We will develop capabilities that are applicable globally, and use targeted features, distribution, community development, and marketing approaches to expand into regions such as the Indian subcontinent, Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. We will subsequently expand these practices to underrepresented and marginalized areas with smaller populations and languages.
1. Grow participation globally, focusing on emerging markets. We will expand the use of Wikimedia sites, projects, and products, across the globe, with a focus on increasing readership, participation, and partnerships in low-awareness or low-use geographies and languages, in order to bring the number and diversity of our users in line with rates of overall internet usage in those communities.
2. Modernize our product experience. We will make contributor and reader experiences useful and joyful; moving from viewing Wikipedia as solely a website, to developing, supporting, and maintaining the Wikimedia ecosystem as a collection of knowledge, information, and insights with infinite possible product experiences and applications.
We believe that successfully achieving these goals is an essential precondition to realizing the longer-term Wikimedia 2030 strategic direction, as well as advancing the overall Wikimedia movement vision and values.
In support of these goals, the following priorities have been identified for investment and growth.
1. Brand awareness – Clarifying and strengthening the global perception of Wikimedia and our free knowledge mission, and growing awareness and affinity with people in places we don’t yet serve.
2. Worldwide readership – Increasing our total readership numbers by attracting and retaining users that reflect the world we’re trying to serve through integrating compelling consumption experiences on and off platform, supported by outreach and marketing efforts.
3. Thriving movement – Co-creating, growing, and cultivating a safe and welcoming, diverse, sustainable, and thriving movement of leaders, contributors, advocates, and partners for free knowledge.
4. Platform evolution – Improving and modernizing Wikimedia’s technical ecosystem to respond to a landscape where artificial intelligence (AI) is creating content, rich media dominates learning, and the tools people use to collaborate work easily across a multitude of devices and require minimal technical capabilities.
5. Global advocacy – Championing and defending the integrity and independence of free knowledge, the Wikimedia community, projects, and values with governments, businesses, civil society, and other stakeholders.
We will support these five priorities collaboratively as an organization, with the intention that every metric is owned by the collective Foundation. We will focus efforts across the Foundation ensuring that every area of investment is integrated and builds on the last.
Efficacy & Resilience
We recognize that we must also make internal changes at the Foundation in order for it to fully become an effective agent of change in the movement for free knowledge. Just as our community, projects, and services are asked to fulfill their potential in serving as the essential infrastructure of free knowledge globally, the Foundation must continue improving our leadership practices to create an organization with a deeply ingrained culture of excellence.
We will break through internal silos, say ‘no’ to work that doesn’t directly align with our identified priorities, establish new norms and practices that reflect our values and goals, and refine, retool, and reshape the way we do things. We will make a commitment to building a diverse workforce reflective of the global world we serve. We will promote a culture of inclusion, with norms and practices that reflect our values. We will maintain a shared understanding of key decisions and goals. We will take calculated risks. We will commit to each of these actions, all while maintaining the integrity of our mission and the funding of our donors.
This is our commitment. These are our goals and priorities. This is our plan. We are leading the way in this pursuit, redefining how we show up in order to shape the future. Our platform of projects will be recognized as the source of free knowledge and our organization will be the support system that helps set knowledge free.
The model for engagement
The visual below illustrates how the Wikimedia movement builds momentum and sustained engagement. Most people first learn of Wikipedia through directly searching for knowledge or brand awareness campaigns. Once engaged with the sites, there is an opportunity to convert appreciation of the value and mission to deeper involvement, including content contributions, donations, or advocacy. This expanding engagement and community participation enables more and more diverse content, which in turn, draws more readers and the cycle begins again. Our priorities, taken together, are intended to drive and deepen this virtuous cycle to help grow the movement and its impact for the future.
Expanding Brand Awareness in more locations helps bring new readers into the movement and clarify our mission, values, and purpose. We will sustain and grow Worldwide Readership through enhancements to the reading experience, the addition of new content formats, and more regionally relevant content. We will enable a Thriving Movement with programs and policies that foster a more welcoming, diverse, and healthy community, in turn supporting the creation of content that engages more readers. Our Platform Evolution will make it easier to keep our sites updated, secure, and safe, and for communities to create and share richer and more locally relevant content. And through Global Advocacy, we will protect our ability to operate around the world, becoming a more proactive and powerful voice on behalf of the value of free knowledge to society.
Finally, we know that a strong organization is a prerequisite to achieving our ambitious goals. So as we execute this Medium Term Plan, we also commit to increasing the Wikimedia Foundation’s Organizational Efficacy and Resilience. We will articulate a plan in the coming months to improve the culture and performance of the organization for long-term, sustainable growth.